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The importance of grief literacy is predicated on the idea that we are all responsible for our story. When we encounter grief or loss in our lives (and we all do), we can navigate the intensity of those emotions by continuing to learn about loss, even as we grieve. Giving ourselves a chance to understand more about loss before we have some of our own is a gift. The world around us is more inclined to remain stoic, safe, and tucked away from the wild emotions that surface in the tsunami of grief.
As humans, however, we must someday admit that we cannot hide from our emotional selves. Those integral parts of our identity shape the way we experience the world around us, and in turn, how we engage with the world.
By learning about the world, life, and death in all its parts, we are creating a richer experience while we are here. Our job is not to simply arrive one day at grief, fulling aware of all the pain it will bring and know how to avoid it. Our job is to honor our story, refrain from moralizing our responses, and embrace our losses without losing ourselves in the process.
We have this strange narrative that grieving “too long” is a bad thing, or that grief can somehow be expressed incorrectly. But grief just is – it is a morally neutral experience that we will all navigate someday. By removing the assumptions of good or bad, we can approach grief as just one more part of the human experience.
Grief literacy is bringing language, compassion, and curiosity to the table. We learn more about ourselves, others, and the grace needed to heal through our losses. If we are intentional, we can do so before great loss strikes our storyline.
We can choose to acknowledge that when we grieve, we will not someday arrive and be healed. But with heart, intention, and a little foresight, we will find healing is an ongoing, lifelong experience. This infographic was designed to supply a few small reminders of how grief literacy sounds. May it also give you an idea of what you can do to start your own journey to learn about grief before life forces you to do so on your own.